Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Somewhat less than successful

Have you ever realized that there are things you are just destined to fail at? Or do you ever feel that way? I must say, I more "feel that way" than believe it. I refuse to actually believe that there's anything I can't do. My previous attempts at making toffee have ended in buttery, greasy messes. I thought this was my year- armed with my mother-in-law's time-tested recipe, I could not fail. Yeah, right. I failed spectacularly and am simply glad that my kitchen isn't in flames.

In itself, toffee is not a complicated thing. It's water, butter, and sugar. It's essentially the same thing I successfully made yesterday without peanuts. Somehow, though, it just didn't work out. Instead of making toffee, I made tar. Anyone need to patch their driveway? If you do, I've got the recipe that can do it. I went about today's candy-making the same way as yesterday, setting the timer on the stove for every three minutes to check the temperature of the candy and stir it a bit. After a few rounds, I checked it out, and it was 250 degrees. I set the timer again, sat down at the table and waited for the timer to go off. Before the three minutes were up, I noticed that something smelled somewhat unsavory. I went to the pan and my chin dropped to the ground when I saw the thermometer at 450 degrees. The mixture in the pan was black and bubbling and smoking incessantly. I quickly realized that the entire kitchen was full of smoke. I turned off the heat, grabbed the pan, and headed for the back door. Once safely outside of the gate (read: safely out of Otis's scavenging range), I poured it out. I think it burned a hole to China.

The windows are now open and all the fans are going in an attempt to de-smoke the house. Of course, the smoke is only half of the problem. There is a nasty smell coming out of the kitchen, too. I'm going to bake some bread in a little while to try to combat the odor. I've got to admit, I am not used to failing so completely and in such dramatic fashion- especially in the kitchen. I'm trying to decide if I'm even brave enough to attempt the toffee again this year. I might just stick to my plan of one candy per day and write this one off. I'll let you know what happens...


mo.wask said...

let us know if you start smelling chinese food from the hole you burned in your lawn. my first thought was about humidity. my oma has this thing about the air having to be dry when making candy... but it sounds like it is a temp/stove thing with this round. hang in there.

Angie said...

you would think that the description of the entire thing would scare me off, but I am looking for a good toffee recipe. The lady that I know that makes the best won't let loose with the recipe- that old biddy! I am also a glutton for punishment( I have three children, remember). Maybe I can open the secrets of the recipe....or do you think of that as too much of a challenge?

feather nester said...

Sounds from your later post like you had a spectacular recovery. Way to persevere, P.

die Frau said...

Two things:
1) I have never even attempted to make toffee, so three cheers to you.

2) We have a perfectly circular hole in our front hall rug from where I set a still-smoking pot of burnt rice (I didn't want to put it outside for fear my landlady's dog would eat it.

You're not alone!